By Meghan Peterson, Ph.D.
Located at 301 Route 81 in Killingworth, the Killingworth Library provides a variety of adult, adolescent, family, and children’s literary resources, educational programming, and cultural arts events. As such, it serves as a dynamic hub for people to learn, gather and experience community together. We recently contacted Laurie West Prichard, Director of the library here in Killingworth, to speak more about the role the Killingworth Library plays in the lives of Killingworth (as well as surrounding area) residents and library patrons.
How did you come to call Killingworth Library your home?
Prichard: I was working as Assistant Director for the East Haddam Library System when I learned of the opening at Killingworth Library. The position seemed like a good fit, but before applying I decided to visit the library to meet the folks working there and take a look around. I walked out of the building saying to myself “this is the one – it’s perfect.” Almost 2 years later, I still feel that way. Both the library and the Killingworth community are wonderful.
What is your background? Please provide a bit of biographical as well as professional information.
Prichard: I grew up in Clinton, Massachusetts and graduated with a BA from Clark University in Worcester before moving to Connecticut with my husband Paul more than 30 years ago. Our daughters are both in college, the oldest is a senior at Eastern CT State University, and the younger is a junior at Bryant University in Rhode Island. I usually tell people that I took the long and winding road towards becoming a librarian. While I was with the East Haddam Library System for 7 years, prior to that I spent 25 years working for a large insurance company in Hartford in a variety of administrative and management roles. So, this is definitely my second career – even though it took a while, I feel that I found the work I was meant to do.
How do you see your role not only at the library but in the community?
Prichard: Killingworth Library has a unique history of both volunteer and community involvement, and I feel that it’s essential to maintain those ties by promoting a friendly, welcoming, patron-first culture. We are here to serve the entire community, and my goal is to make sure that the community knows about the many services we offer, both onsite and online.
What are some of your favorite aspects of your job?
Prichard: I love meeting and assisting our patrons – it brightens my day when I know that I’ve helped someone. Then there’s the people I work with – we have 22 wonderful volunteers who generously donate their time to staff our circulation desk, plus an involved and caring library board. When you add in the staff, it’s a pleasure to come to work.
What are some goals/objectives/vision(s) you have for the library?
Prichard: We’ve already made some significant changes in the last 18 months – our refreshed book sale area has transformed our lobby into a much more welcoming space, and in September we successfully migrated to the Bibliomation Consortium, which has greatly expanded both our online e-book and e-audio offerings and improved our interlibrary loan service to our patrons. Our website has also been redesigned and includes a new calendar where residents can sign up for programs themselves online. While some adjustments are still underway, many of our services have been moved right to the home page for easier access. We will be looking at ways of improving the flow of space in the children’s room during 2020.
Any other thoughts to share with residents, patrons?
Prichard: I am working with our Killingworth Library Board as they develop a strategic plan for our future, and as part of that we will be reaching out to Killingworth residents for their input on what services they value most, as well as to identify any future changes they would like to see. Please keep an eye out for our Community Survey, which will be available both online and in paper in the very near future!